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Lawsuits predicted over state's move not to allow same-sex joint tax returns

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Tax attorneys predict lawsuits over Wisconsin's decision not to let same-sex couples file joint income tax returns. 

Gay couples were recently allowed to file joint federal returns, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act in June. 

On Friday, Wisconsin's Revenue Department told same-sex couples they'll have file a new Schedule "S," and determine each person's state tax obligation if they claim the new federal joint benefit.

Madison tax attorney Tamara Packard says the Revenue Department has no business making new laws. 

Laurel Patrick of the Revenue agency said joint tax benefits at the state level would violate Wisconsin's 2006 constitutional ban on gay marriages and civil unions. For that reason, Milwaukee tax attorney Brian Mahany does not believe the state's decision to keep requiring separate tax obligations would be easy to overturn.

If that's the case, accountant Pete Oettinger of Baraboo says same-sex couples would keep losing out on the state's tax credit for married couples who both work.  That credit is up to $480.